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The Breaking Bad Pizza Detail We All Missed

Talk about attention to detail. 

It's been seven years since Breaking Bad ended its stellar five-season run, and even for those who have watched the entire series a dozen times (we regret nothing), it continues to surprise. Case in point: the iconic pizza-on-the-roof scene, which took place during the second episode of the third season, "Caballo sin Nombre."

Just for a brief refresher, this episode put the screws to Walter White (Bryan Cranston) from its opening scene, in which the chemistry-teacher-turned-meth-kingpin is pulled over for a cracked windshield. Walter's wife, Skyler (Anna Gunn) has recently found out about her husband's illegal activities, and Walt is in no mood for the inconvenience. He mouths off to the cop, becoming belligerent to the point where he's pepper sprayed and hauled off to the county jail, to be bailed out by his DEA agent brother-in-law, Hank (Dean Norris). Skyler refuses to let Walter back in the house, and is appropriately furious when he allows Walter Jr. (R.J. Mitte) to visit him while Skyler is at work. When Walter brings the boy home, he's toting along a delicious pepperoni pizza as a peace offering — one which Skyler wants no part of. She turns him away, and he flings the pizza over his shoulder in a fit of pique, improbably landing it right on the roof of the house.

It's an unexpectedly hilarious occurrence, but most people were so busy cracking up that they failed to notice one small detail: the pizza is whole and uncut. What gives? Did some dude at the pizza place just happen to make a serendipitous mistake that would ensure that Walter's rage-pizza would stay intact when flung? Well, as sharp-eyed fans have pointed out, the series quietly answered that question the following season. 

The pizza scene proves there are no minor details in Breaking Bad

As it turns out, the uncut pizza stuck in the craw of Breaking Bad's creator, Vince Gilligan. In a 2017 Reddit AMA, he explained that the pizza scene was the subject of a great deal of back-and-forth in the series' writers' room. "We had a long discussion before we shot the pizza on the roof scene about whether or not the pizza should be sliced — because, as all you physicists know, a thrown, sliced pizza would come apart due to centrifugal force or angular momentum (or something like that)," Gilligan explained. "And yet... no self-respecting pizza parlor sells an unsliced pizza. So we figured we needed to explain it... or else face our audience's righteous wrath!" (via Esquire)

And explain it they did, in the second episode of the fourth season, "Thirty-Eight Snub." Here, Walter's reluctant partner Jesse Pinkman (Aaron Paul) has his buddies Badger and Skinny Pete pick up a few pies from Venezia's, the same joint that Walter bought his roof pie from. Jesse is perplexed to find that, surprise, the pizza hasn't been cut, prompting Badger to explain. "That's their gimmick," he says. "This place, they don't cut their pizza, and they pass the savings on to you." A humorous back-and-forth about just how much money could be saved by not cutting pizzas ensues, and the whole scene just plays like one of many examples of Breaking Bad's tendency to veer into quirky, oddball humor, which it is ... but it also neatly closes that nagging plot hole from a season prior.

Truly, there are well-oiled machines — pizza ovens, for example — and then there is Breaking Bad, a series which would take just so many viewings to catch all these crazy little details. Probably a dozen viewings is too few, so maybe it's time to start round 13.